his from that foul haunt retire,
While all Astolpho
chases with his horn,
Who to all
quarters of the town sets fire,
singly round the world is borne.
for Gabrina's cause, in ire
young Zerbino scathe and scorn,
him guardian of Gabrina fell,
he first learns news of Isabel.
the women of antiquity
In arms and
hallowed arts as well have done,
their worthy works the memory
through this ample world has shone.
Camilla, with Harpalice,
fair course which they in battle run.
Sappho, famous for their lore,
illustrious light, to set no more.
reached the pinnacle of glory,
art by them professed, well seen;
whosoever turns the leaf of story,
record of them, neither dim nor mean.
influence will be transitory,
deprived of such the world had been;
men, and those that never knew
worth, have haply hid their honours due.
To me it plainly
seems, in this our age
such is the celebrity,
That it may
furnish matter to the page,
dispersed to future years shall be;
And you, ye
evil tongues which foully rage,
Be tied to
your eternal infamy,
praises so resplendent show,
by much, Marphisa's worth outgo.
returning yet again; the dame
To him who
showed to her such courteous lore,
to disclose her martial name,
agreed to tell the style be bore.
satisfied the warrior's claim;
his title she desired so sore.
Marphisa," the virago cried:
was known, as bruited far and wide.
since 'twas his to speak, begun
preamble: "Amid your train,
Sirs, it is
my belief that there is none
heard mention of my race and strain.
Aethiopia, Ind alone,
their neighbouring realms, but France and Spain
Wot well of
Clermont, from whose loins the knight
Issued who killed
Almontes bold in fight,
"And Chiareillo and Mambrino slew,
the realm whose royal crown they wore.
this blood, where Danube's waters, through
or ten to meet the Euxine pour,
Me to the
far-renowned Duke Aymon, who
stranger roved, my mother bore.
And 'tis a
twelvemonth now since her, in quest
French kin, I left with grief opprest.
reached not France, for southern tempest's spite
hither; lodged in royal bower
or more; for -- miserable wight! --
every day and every hour.
Savage I by name am hight,
and scarcely proved in warlike stower.
Argilon of Meliboea I
ten warriors in his company.
as well in other field confessed,
are the partners of my bed:
my choice, who are the best
damsels in this kingdom bred:
command, as well as all the rest,
Who of their
female band have made me head;
would make another who in fight,
ten opposites to death would smite."
is besought of them to say
appear so few of the male race,
declare if women there bear sway
as men o'er them in other place.
"Since my fortune has been here to stay,
oftentimes have heard relate the case;
(according to the story told)
it pleases you, the cause unfold.
after twenty years, the Grecian host
from Troy (ten years hostility
endured, ten weary years were tost
detained by adverse winds at sea),
their women had, for comforts lost,
of absence, learned a remedy;
they might not freeze alone in bed,
young lovers in their husbands' stead.
others' children filled the Grecian crew
houses found, and by consent was past
A pardon to
their women; for they knew
How ill they
could endure so long a fast.
adulterous issue, as their due,
their fortunes on the world were cast:
husbands would not suffer more
striplings should be nourished from their store.
are exposed, and others underhand
kindly mothers shelter and maintain:
adults, in many a various band,
some there dispersed, their living gain.
the trade of some, by some are scanned
arts; another tills the plain:
in court, by other guided go
The herd as
pleases her who rules below.
departed with they youthful peers,
Who was of
cruel Clytemnestra born;
fresh (he numbered eighteen years)
rose, new-gathered from the thorn.
armed a bark, his pinnace steers
of plunder, o'er the billows borne.
With him a
hundred other youths engage,
all Greece, and of their leader's age.
Cretans, who had banished in that day
the tyrant of their land,
new state to strengthen and upstay,
gathering arms and levying martial band,
service by their goodly pay
(so hight the youth who sought that strand),
those others that his fortune run,
Dictaean city garrison.
the hundred cities of old Crete,
Dictaean the most rich and bright;
Of fair and
amorous dames the joyous seat,
festive sports from morn to night:
And (as her
townsmen aye were wont to greet
stranger) with such hospitable rite
welcomed these, it little lacked but they
them o'er their households sovereign sway.
and passing fair were all the crew,
of Greece, who bold Phalantus led;
with those fair ladies at first view,
their hearts, full well the striplings sped.
in deed as show, they good and true
evinced themselves and bold in bed.
And in few
days to them so grateful proved,
dearest things they were beloved.
the war was ended on accord,
were hired Phalantus and his train,
withdrawn, nor longer by the sword
which the adventurous youth can gain,
And they, for
this, anew would go aboard,
Cretan women more complain,
tears on this occasion shed,
their fathers lay before them dead.
time and sorely all the striplings bold
apart, by them implored to stay:
the fleeting youths they cannot hold,
brother, sire, and son, with these to stray,
and of weighty sums of gold
their households ere they wend their way,
For so well
was the plot concealed, no wight
Crete was privy to their flight.
happy was the hour, so fair the wind,
Phalantus chose his time to flee,
miles had left the isle behind,
lamented her calamity.
uninhabited by human kind,
received them wandering o'er the sea.
they settled, with the plunder reft,
weighed the issue of their theft.
amorous pleasures teemed this place of rest,
days, to that roving company:
But, as oft
happens that in youthful breast
brings with it satiety,
their women, with one wish possest,
resolved to win their liberty;
burden does so sore oppress
when her love breeds weariness.
who are covetous of spoil and gain,
ill-bested withal in stipend, know
means are wanted to maintain
paramours, than shaft and bow;
thus alone the wretched train,
with their riches charged the adventurers go
Puglia's pleasant land: there founded near
Tarentum's city, as I hear.
women when they find themselves betrayed
by whose faith they set most store,
days remain so sore dismayed,
seem lifeless statues on the shore.
lamentations nothing aid,
fruitless are the many tears they pour,
meditate, amid their pains,
for such an ill remains.
laying their opinions now before
deem that to return to Crete
Is in their
sad estate the wiser lore,
themselves at sire and husband's feet,
those wilds, and on that desert shore,
To pine of
want. Another troop repeat,
esteem it were a worthier notion
themselves into the neighbouring ocean;
lighter ill, if they as harlots went
world, -- beggars or slaves to be,
up themselves for punishment,
merited by their iniquity.
like schemes the unhappy dames present,
than the other. Finally,
amid these upstood,
her origin from Minos' blood.
and fairest of the crew betrayed
and wariest, and who least had erred,
Who to Phalantus'
arms had come a maid,
for him her father: she in word,
As well as
in a kindling face, displayed
with generous wrath her heart was stirred;
reprobating all advised before,
adopted saw her better lore.
would not leave the land they were upon,
was fruitful, and whose air was sane,
which many limpid rivers ran,
woods, and for the most part plain;
and port, where stranger bark could shun
or storm, which vexed the neighbouring main,
from Afric or from Egypt bring
other necessary thing.
vengeance (she opined) they there should stay
sex, which had so sore offended.
each bark and crew which to that bay
from the angry tempest wended,
should, without remorse, burn, sack, and slay,
be to any one extended.
the lady's motion, such the course
and the statute put in force.
women, when they see the changing heaven
tempest, hurry to the strand,
Orontea, by whom given
fell law, the ruler of the land;
And of all
barks into their haven driven
Make havoc dread
with fire and murderous brand,
man alive, who may diffuse
side or that the dismal news.
'Twas thus with the male sex at enmity,
the lonely women lived forlorn:
that hurtful to themselves would be
save changed; for if from them were born
perpetuate their empery,
law would soon be held in scorn,
together with the fruitful reign,
had hoped eternal should remain.
that some deal its rigour they allay,
And in four
years, of all who made repair
chance conducted to this bay,
ten vigorous cavaliers and fair;
endurance in the amorous play
those hundred dames good champions were:
they; and, of the chosen men,
was assigned to every ten.
this, too feeble to abide the test,
Many a one
on scaffold lost his head.
ten warriors so approved the best,
partakers of their rule and bed;
swearing at the sovereign ladies' hest,
if others to that port are led,
shall to any one afford,
But one and
all will put them to the sword.
swell, and next to child, and thence to fear
The women turned
to teeming wives began
in time so many males should bear
invade the sovereignty they plan,
the government they hold so dear
finally from them revert to man.
while these are children yet, take measure,
shall rebel against their pleasure.
the male sex may not usurp the sway,
enacted by the statute fell,
should one boy preserve, and slay
or abroad exchange or sell.
they these to various parts convey,
And to the
bearers of the children tell,
the girls for boys in foreign lands,
Or not, at
least, return with empty hands.
by the women one preserved would be,
without them could the race maintain.
their mercy, all the clemency
accords for theirs, not others' gain.
all others sentence equally;
but in this their statute's pain,
as was their former practice, they
their rage promiscuously slay.
ten or twenty persons, or yet more,
they were imprisoned and put by;
day one only from the store
was brought out by lot to die,
In fane by
Orontea built, before
raised to Vengeance; and to ply
headsman, and dispatched the unhappy men,
One was by
lot selected from the ten.
that foul murderous shore by chance did fare,
years elapsed, a youthful wight,
fathers sprung from good Alcides were,
And he, of
proof in arms, Elbanio hight;
he seized, of peril scarce aware,
unsuspecting such a foul despite:
closely guarded, into prison flung,
like cruel use the rest among.
with every fair accomplishment,
face and manners was the peer,
And of a
speech so sweet and eloquent,
deaf adder might have stopt to hear;
So that of
him to Alexandria went
of a precious thing and rare.
She was the
daughter of that matron bold,
that yet lived, though old.
Orontea lived, while of that shore
settlers all were dead and gone;
And now ten
times as many such or more
strength and greater credit grown.
Nor for ten
forges, often closed, in store
ill-furnished band more files than one;
And the ten
champions have as well the care
shrewdly all who thither fare.
Alexandria, who the blooming peer
behold so praised on every part,
pleasure him to see and hear,
her mother; and, about to part
discovers that the cavalier
master of her tortured heart;
herself bound, and that 'tis vain to stir,
captive made by her own prisoner.
pity,' (said Elbanio) 'lady fair,
Was in this
cruel region known, as through
countries near or distant, where
wandering sun sheds light and colouring hue,
I by your
beauty's kindly charms should dare
each gentle spirit bound to you)
To beg my
life; which always, at your will,
Should I be
ready for your love to spill.
since deprived of all humanity
bosoms in this cruel land,
I shall not
now request my life of thee,
fruitless would, I know, be the demand)
whether a good knight or bad I be,
like such to die with arms in hand,
And not as
one condemned to penal pain;
brute beast in sacrifice be slain.'
gentle maid, her eye bedimmed with tear,
In pity for
the hapless youth, replied:
this land be more cruel and severe
other country, far and wide,
is not a Medaea here
wouldst make her; and, if all beside
such evil kind, in me alone
exception to the rest be known.
though I, like so many here, of yore
Was full of
evil deeds and cruelty,
I can well
say, I never had before
subject for my clemency.
were I than a tiger, more
my heart than diamonds, if in me
hardness did not vanish and give place
courage, gentleness, and grace.
`Ah! were the cruel statute less severe
stranger to these shores conveyed!
So should I
not esteem my death too dear
for thy worthier life were paid.
But none is
here so great, sir cavalier,
Nor of such
puissance as to lend thee aid;
thou askest, though a scanty grace,
difficult to compass in this place.
yet will I endeavour to obtain
before thou perish, this content;
much, I fear, 'twill but augment thy pain.
protracted death but more torment.'
`So I the
ten encounter,' (said again
`I at heart, am confident
save, and enemies to slay;
of iron were the whole array.'
this the youthful Alexandria nought
answer, saving with a piteous sigh;
the conference a bosom brought,
Gored with deep
wounds, beyond all remedy.
she repaired, and wrought
On her to
will the stripling should not die,
display such courage and such skill
As with his
single hand the ten to kill.
Orontea straightway bade unite
council, and bespoke the assembled band:
behoves us place the prowest wight
Whom we can
find, to guard our ports and strand.
discover whom to take or slight,
fitting that we prove the warrior's hand;
our loss, the election made be wrong,
enthrone the weak and slay the strong.
deem it fit, if you the counsel shown
Deem fit as
well, in future to ordain,
upon our coast by Fortune thrown,
in the temple shall be slain,
the choice, instead of this, alone
against ten others to maintain;
And if he
conquer, shall the port defend
comrades, pardoned to that end.
say this, since to strive against our ten,
It seems, that
one imprisoned here will dare:
Who, if he
stands against so many men,
deserves that we should hear his prayer;
But if he
rashly boasts himself, again
due the punishment should bear.'
Orontea ceased; on the other side,
To her the
oldest of the dames replied.
leading cause, for which to entertain
intercourse with men we first agreed,
because we, to defend this reign,
assistance stood in any need;
For we have
skill and courage to maintain
ourselves, and force, withal, to speed.
we could in all as well avail
their succour, nor succession fail!
since this may not be, we some have made
partakers of our company;
That, ten to
one, we be not overlaid;
possess them of the sovereignty.
Not that we
for protection need their aid,
to increase and multiply.
their powers to this sole fear addressed,
And be they
sluggards, idle for the rest.
keep among us such a puissant wight
design would render wholly vain.
If one can
singly slay ten men in fight,
women can he not restrain?
If our ten
champions had possessed such might,
first day would have usurped the reign.
To arm a
hand more powerful than your own
Is an ill
method to maintain the throne.
`Reflect withal, that if your prisoner speed
So that he
kill ten champions in the fray,
women's cry, whose lords will bleed
falchion, shall your ears dismay.
Let him not
'scape by such a murderous deed;
But, if he
would, propound some other way.
-- Yet if
he of those ten supply the place,
a hundred women, grant him grace.'
was severe Artemia's sentiment,
(So was she
named) and had her counsel weighed,
the temple had been sent,
by the sacrificial blade.
Orontea, willing to content
daughter, to the matron answer made;
so many reasons, and so wrought,
yielding senate granted what she ought.
beauty (for so fair to view
any cavalier beside)
works upon the youthful crew,
that council sit the state to guide,
opinion of the older few
Artemia think, is set aside;
lacks but that the assembled race
Elbanio by especial grace.
pardon him in fine the dames agreed:
slaying his half-score, and when
He in the
next assault as well should speech,
Not with a
hundred women, but with ten;
furnished to his wish with arms and steed,
Next day he
was released from dungeon-den,
with ten warriors matched in plain,
Who by his
arm successively were slain.
new proof was put the following night,
damsels naked and alone;
successful was the stripling's might,
He took the
'say of all the troop, and won
with Orontea, that the knight
Was by the
dame adopted for her son;
And from her
Alexandria had to wife,
whom he had proved in amorous strife.
him she left with Alexandria, heir
famed city, which from her was hight,
So he and
all who his successors were,
guard the law which willed, whatever wight,
hither by his cruel star,
miserable land did light,
his choice to perish by the knife,
with ten foes contend to strife.
if he should dispatch the men by day,
should prove him with the female crew;
And if so
fortunate that in this play
again the conqueror, he, as due,
band, as prince and guide, should sway,
And his ten
consorts at his choice renew:
with them, till other should arrive
hand, and him of life deprive.
for two thousand years nigh past away
have maintained, and yet maintain
rite; and rarely passes day
stranger wight is slaughtered in the fane.
If he, Elbanio-like,
ten foes assay,
sometimes is found) he oft is slain
first charge: nor, in a thousand, one
feat, of which I spake, has done,
some there are have done it, though so few,
They may be
numbered on the fingers; one
victorious cavaliers, but who
with his ten short time, was Argilon:
by me, whom ill wind hither blew,
to his eternal rest is gone.
with him that day had filled a grave,
in such scorn survive a slave!
amorous pleasures, laughter, game, and play,
evermore delight the youthful breast;
the purple garment, rich array,
And in his
city place before the rest.
Heaven, the wretched man appay
Who of his
liberty is dispossest:
And not to
have the power to leave this shore
To me seems
shameful servitude and sore.
know I wear away life's glorious spring
effeminate and slothful leisure
Is to my
troubled heart a constant sting,
away the taste of every pleasure.
my kindred's praise on outstretched wing,
Even to the
skies; and haply equal measure
I of the
glories of my blood might share
If I united
with my brethren were.
my fate does such injurious deed
condemned to servitude so base,
As he who
turns to grass the generous steed
To run amid
the herd of meaner race,
unfit for war or worthier meed,
blemish, or disease of sight or pace.
but by death, alas! to fly
So vile a
service, I desire to die."
ceased to address the martial peers,
withal the day, in high disdain,
achieved o'er dames and cavaliers
victory which bestowed that reign.
hides his name, and silent hears,
him by many a sign is plain
Sir Guido is, as he had said,
of his kinsman Aymon's bed.
"The English duke, Astolpho, I
am," and clipt him round the waist,
And in a
kindly act of courtesy,
weeping, kist him and embraced.
"Kinsman dear, thy birth to certify
sign thy mother could have placed
neck. Enough! that sword of thine,
vouch thee of our valiant line."
gladly would in other place
So near a
kin have welcomed, in dismay
here and with a mournful face;
he himself survives the fray,
will be doomed to slavery base,
deferred but till the following day;
shall perish, if the duke is free:
one's good the other's ill shall be.
as well, the other cavaliers
through his means for ever captive be;
he should, if slain, those martial peers
his death from slavery.
Marphisa from one quicksand clears
yet these from other fails to free,
have won the victory in vain;
will be enslaved, and she be slain.
other hand, the stripling's age, in May
with courtesy and valour fraught,
maid and comrades with such sway,
their breasts with love and pity, wrought
of freedom, for which he must pay
of his life, nigh loathed the thought;
Marphisa him perforce must kill,
resolved as well herself to spill.
thou with us," she to Sir Guido cried,
we from hence will sally." -- "From within
to sally" -- Guido on his side
"Ne'er hope: With me you lose or win."
fear not, I," the martial maid replied,
execute whatever I begin;
what can securer path afford
which I shall open with my sword.
proof of thy fair prowess have I made,
With thee I
every enterprise would dare.
when about the palisade
assembled in the circus are,
Let us on
every side the mob invade,
they fly or for defence prepare;
the town to fire, and on their bed
Of earth to
wolf and vulture leave the dead."
"Ready shalt thou find me in the strife
thee or perish at thy side:
But let us
hope not to escape with life.
Enough, is vengeance
for oft ten thousand, maid and wife,
I in the
place have witnessed; and, outside,
castle, wall and port, defend.
Nor know I
certain way from hence to wend."
were there more (Marphisa made reply)
led, our squadrons to oppose,
those rebel spirits from the sky
Cast out to
dwell amid perpetual woes,
All in one
day should by this weapon die,
with me, at least, not with my foes."
again, "No project but must fail,
said) I know, save this avail."
only us can save, should it succeed;
but now remembered I shall teach.
alone our laws the right concede
or set foot upon the beach,
to one of mine in this our need
commit myself, and aid beseech;
for me, by perfect friendship tied,
Has oft by
better proof than this been tried.
less than me would she desire that I
from slavery, so she went with me;
without her rival's company,
She of my
lot should sole partaker be.
She bark or
pinnace, in the harbour nigh,
while yet 'tis dark, prepare for sea;
await your sailors, rigged and yare
sailing, when they thither shall repair.
me, in a solid band comprest,
merchants, mariners and warriors, who,
this city, have set up your rest
this roof (for which my thanks are due)
-- You have
to force your way with stedfast breast,
adversaries interrupt our crew.
'Tis thus I
hope, by succour of the sword,
To clear a
passage through the cruel horde."
thou wilt," Marphisa made reply,
escape am confident withal:
likelier 'twere that by my hand should die
race, encompassed by this wall,
one should ever see me fly,
Or guess by
other sign that fears appall.
I would my
passage force in open day,
shameful in my sight were other way.
if I were for a woman known,
place from women I might claim,
entertained, and classed as one
their chiefs of highest fame:
privilege or favour will I none
those with whom I hither came.
Too base it
were, did I depart or free
leave the rest in slavery."
speeches by Marphisa made, and more,
what only had restrained her arm
respect she to the safety bore
companions whom her wrath might harm;
alone withheld form taking sore
vengeance on the female swarm.
she left in Guido's care to shape
the fittest means for their escape.
speaks that night with Alery
most faithful of his wives was hight)
long prayer to make the dame agree,
already to obey the knight.
She takes a
ship and arms the bark for sea,
her richest chattels for their flight;
design, as soon as dawn ensues,
with her companions on a cruise.
Guido's palace had before
and spear and shield and cuirass bear;
intent to furnish from this store,
and sailors that half naked were.
and some repose upon the floor,
and guard among each other share;
marking, still with harness on their backs,
yet with light the orient wax.
from earth's hard visage has the sun
veil of dim and dingy dye;
Lycaon's child, her furrow done,
about her ploughshare in the sky;
When to the
theatre the women run
the fearful battle's end espy,
bees upon their threshold cluster,
Who bent on
change of realm in springtide muster.
warlike trumpet, drum, and sound of horn,
make the land and welkin roar;
thus their chieftain to return,
And end of
unfinished warfare. Covered o'er
stand Aquilant and Gryphon stern,
redoubted duke from England's shore.
Dudo, Sansonet, and all
or footmen harboured in that hall.
descend towards the sea or port
across the place of combat lies;
Nor was there
other passage, long or short.
so to his companions cries:
ceased his comrades to exhort,
To do their
best set forth in silent wise,
And in the
place appeared, amid the throng,
Head of a
squad above a hundred strong.
other gate Sir Guido went,
his band, but, gathered far and nigh
multitude, for aye intent
and clad in arms, when they descry
comrades whom he leads, perceive his bent,
deem he is about to fly.
All in a
thought betake them to their bows,
And at the
portal part the knight oppose.
and the cavaliers who go
that champion's guidance, and before
bold Marphisa, were not slow
and laboured hard to force the door.
But such a
storm of darts from ready bow,
all sides death or wounding sore,
in fury on the troop forlorn,
at last to encounter skaith and scorn.
Of proof the
corslet was each warrior wore,
this would have had worse to fear:
horse was slain, and that which bore
to himself the English peer
"Why wait I longer? As if more
could ever succour me than here.
sword steads not, I will make assay
If with my
bugle I can clear the way."
As he was
customed in extremity,
He to his
mouth applied the bugle's round;
world seemed to tremble, earth and sky,
As he in
air discharged the horrid sound.
smote the dames, that bent to fly,
their ears the deafening horn was wound,
they the gate unguarded left,
the circus reeled, of wit bereft.
awaked in sudden wise,
the windows and from lofty height,
life and limb, when in surprise
now near, the fire's encircling light,
while slumber sealed their heavy eyes,
and by little waxed at night:
life, thus each, impelled by dread,
At sound of
that appalling bugle fled.
below, and here and there, the rout
confusion and attempt to fly.
above a thousand swarm about
entrance, to each other's lett, and lie
from window these, or stage without,
headlong; in the press these smothered die.
many an arm, and many a head;
lies crippled, and another dead.
mighty ruin which ensued,
pierce the very heavens on every part.
the sound is heard, the multitude,
In panic at
the deafening echo, start.
are told that without hardihood
rabble, and of feeble heart,
not more your marvel; for by nature
The hare is
evermore a timid creature.
Marphisa what will be your thought,
late so furious? -- of the two
of Olivier, that lately wrought
in honour of their lineage? who
hundred thousand held as nought,
deprived of courage, basely flew,
ring-doves flutter and as coneys fly,
some mighty noise resounding nigh.
For so to
friend as stranger, noxious are
that in the enchanted horn reside.
Guido, follow, with the pair
bold, Marphisa terrified.
can they to such distance fare,
their ears are dinned. On every side
on his foaming courser borne,
louder breath to his enchanted horn.
the sea, and one the mountain-top,
the hide herself in forest hoar;
who turned not once nor made a stop,
Not for ten
days her headlong flight forbore:
the bridge in that dread moment drop,
climb the river's margin more.
house and square and street were drained,
unpeopled the wide town remained.
Guido, and the brethren two,
Sansonetto, pale and trembling, hie
sea, and behind these the crew
mariners and merchants fly;
the forts, in bark, prepared with view
escape, discover Alery;
Who in sore
haste receives the warriors pale,
them ply their oars and make all sail.
within and out the town had bear
surrounding hills to the sea-side,
And of its
people emptied every street.
before the deafening sound, and hide:
panic, seeking a retreat,
some place obscure and filthy stied;
knowing whither to repair,
the neighbouring sea, and perish there.
arrives, seeking the friendly band,
Whom he had
hoped to find upon the quay;
and gazes round the desert strand,
And none is
there -- directs along the bay
and now, far distant from the land,
parting frigate under way.
So that the
paladin, for his escape --
gone -- must other project shape.
depart! nor let it trouble you
That he so long
a road must beat alone;
never without fear, man journeys through
countries: danger is there none,
But what he
with his bugle may eschew,
effect the English duke has shown;
And let his
late companions be our care,
to the beach had made repair.
that cruel and ensanguined ground
under all their canvas, bore;
gained such offing, that the sound
alarming horn was heard no more,
shame inflicted such a wound,
That all a
face of burning crimson wore.
not eye the other, and they stand
downcast looks, a mute and mournful band.
his course, the pilot passes by
Rhodes, and ploughs the Aegean sea:
hundred islands from him fly,
fearful headland; fanned by free
constant wind, sees vanish from the eye
Morea; rounding Sicily,
Tuscan sea his frigate veers,
coasting Italy's fair region, steers:
Luna, where his family
his return, the patron hoar
thanks to God at having passed the sea
more harm, and makes the well-known shore.
offering passage to their company,
They find a
master, ready to unmoor
and that same day his pinnace climb;
wafted to Marseilles in little time.
not Bradamant, who used to sway
and had that city in her care,
And who (if
present there) to make some stay
compelled them by her courteous prayer.
disembarked; and that same hour away
Marphisa at a venture fare;
adieu to salvage Guido's wife,
And to the
four, her comrades in the strife:
deems unfitting for a knight
To fare in
like great fellowship; that so
starlings and the doves in flock unite,
beast who fears -- the stag and doe;
and eagle, that in other's might
their trust, for ever singly go;
bear, and tyger, roam alone,
Who fear no
prowess greater than their own.
with her opine, and, in the lack
companion, singly must she fare,
alone and friendless, she a track
pursues, and through a wooded lair.
white and Aquilant the black
more beaten with the other pair;
And on the
following day a castle see,
which they are harboured courteously.
I, in outward show, would say;
the contrary was made appear.
the castellain, who with display
sheltered them and courteous cheer,
ensuing took them as they lay
their beds, secure and void of fear.
the snare would he his prisoners loose,
had sworn to observe an evil use.
But I will
first pursue the martial maid,
Ere more of
these, fair sir, I shall proclaim.
Durence, Rhone, and Saone she strayed,
And to the
foot of sunny mountain came;
approaching in black gown arrayed,
torrent, saw an ancient dame;
long journey weak, and wearied sore,
but pined by melancholy more.
the beldam who had wont to ply
robbers in the caverned mount;
Justice sent (that they might die
good paladin) Anglante's count.
harridan, for cause which I
shall in another place recount,
days by path obscure had flown,
fearing lest her visage should be known.
semblance now of foreign cavalier
Marphisa saw, in arms and vest;
she flies not her, though wont to fear,
natives of that land) the rest;
with security and open cheer,
the ford the damsel to arrest:
the ford -- where that old beldam meets
and with fair encounter greets.
implored the maid, she of her grace
her on the croupe to the other shore.
who was come of gentle race,
The hag with
her across the torrent bore;
content to bear, till she can place
securer road the beldam hoar,
Clear of a
spacious marish: as its end
They see a
cavalier towards them wend.
armour and in fair array,
rode on saddle richly wrought
river, and upon his way
With him a
single squire and damsel brought.
beauty was the lady gay,
pleasing was her semblance haught;
overblown with insolence and pride,
cavalier who was her guide.
Maganza was a count, who bore
with him (Pinabello hight):
who Bradamant, some months before,
into a hollow cave in spite.
sobs, those burning sighs and sore,
which had nigh quenched the warrior's sight, --
All for the
damsel were, now at his side;
And then by
that false necromancer stied.
the magic tower upon the hill
the dwelling of Atlantes hoar,
one was free to rove at will,
Bradamant's good deed and virtuous lore,
who had been compliant still
desires of Pinabel before,
him, and now journeying in a round
from castle was to castle bound.
and ill-customed, when she spies
aged charge approaching near,
rein her saucy tongue, but plies
her petulance, with laugh and jeer.
haught, unwont in any wise
from whatsoever part to hear,
to the dame, in angry tone,
handsomer than her she deems the crone.
she this would prove upon her knight
that she might strip the bonnibell
Of gown and
palfrey, if, o'erthrown in fight,
champion from his goodly courser fell.
silence to have overpast the slight
been sin and shame in Pinabel,
short answer seized his shield and spear,
wheeled, and drove at her in fierce career.
grasped a mighty lance, and thrust,
him, at Pinabello's eyes;
stretched him so astounded in the dust,
motionless an hour the warrior lies.
now victorious in the just,
to strip off the glorious guise
wherewith the maid was drest,
the spoils her ancient crone invest;
that she should don the youthful weed,
at the haughty damsel's cost;
away as well the goodly steed
had thither borne, and -- bent to post
On her old
track -- with her the hag will speed,
most hideous when adorned the most.
the tedious road the couple beat,
adventure needful to repeat.
fourth day they met a cavalier,
Who came in
fury galloping alone.
If you the
stranger's name desire to hear,
I tell you
'twas Zerbino, a king's son,
and of worth example rare,
and angered, as unvenged of one,
Who a great
act of courtesy, which fain
would have done, had rendered vain.
young Zerbino, through the glade,
that man of his, who this despite
him, who himself so well conveyed
took such 'vantage in his flight,
So hid by wood
and mist, which overlaid
and bedimmed the morning-light,
escaped Zerbino's grasp, and lay
until his wrath was past away.
laughed parforce, when he descried
beldam's face, though he was full of rage;
ill-sorted seemed her vest of pride
foul visage, more deformed by age;
And to the
proud Marphisa, at her side
exclaimed, "Sir warrior, you are sage,
chosen damsel of a sort,
I ween, will grudge you should escort."
Sibyl seemed the beldam hoar,
(As far as
from her wrinkles one might guess),
And in the
youthful ornaments she wore,
an ape which men in mockery dress;
appears more foul, as angered sore,
and wrath her kindled eyes express.
can do a woman worse despite
proclaim her old and foul to sight.
sport of him -- as she had -- an air
the maid assumed upon her part,
And to the
prince, "By Heaven, more passing fair
Is this my
lady than thou courteous art,"
in answer; "though I am aware
hast uttered comes not from thy heart.
not own her beauty; a device
Put on to
masque thy sovereign cowardice.
of what stamp would be that cavalier
such fair and youthful dame alone,
protection, in the forest drear,
to make the lovely weft his own?"
well she sorts with thee," replied the peer,
`Twere ill that she were claimed by any one:
Nor I of
her would thee in any wise
God rest thee merry with thy prize!
would thou prove what is my chivalry,
ground I to thy wish incline;
Yet deem me
not of such perversity
As to tilt
with thee for this prize of thine.
Or fair or
foul, let her remain thy fee;
not, I, such amity disjoin.
Well are ye
paired, and safely would I swear
as valiant art as she is fair."
Marphisa, "Thou in thy despite
to bear from me the dame away.
I will not
suffer that so fair a sight
shouldst behold, nor seek to gain the prey."
To her the
prince, "I know not wherefore wight
suffer pain and peril in affray,
victory, where, for his pains,
losses, and the vanquished gains."
this condition please not, other course
thou canst refuse, I offer thee,"
cried): "If thou shalt me unhorse
In this our
tourney, she remains with me:
But if I
win, I give her thee parforce.
we now who shall without her be.
if loser, thou shalt be her guide,
may please the dame to ride."
be it so," Zerbino cried, and wheeled
foaming courser for the shock,
in his stirrups scowered the field,
Firm in his
seat, and smote, with levelled stock,
aim, the damsel in mid-shield;
sate stedfast as a metal rock,
And at the
warrior's morion thrust so well,
out-bore him senseless from the sell.
grieved the prince, to whom in other fray
misfortune had not chanced before,
unhorsed some thousands in his day:
he thought for ever. Troubled sore,
long space upon the ground he lay,
'twas recollected, grieved the more,
That he had
promised, and that he was bound,
accompany the hag where'er she wound.
about to him the victoress cried,
"This lady I to thee present,
more beauty is in her descried,
that she is thine I am content,
Now in my
place her champion and her guide.
But do not
thou thy plighted faith repent,
thou fail, as promised, to attend
wherever she may please to wend."
awaiting answer, to career
her horse, and vanished in the wood.
deeming her a cavalier,
the crone, "By whom am I subdued?"
knowing 'twould be poison to his ear,
And that it
would inflame his angered blood,
reply, "It was a damsel's blow
thy lofty saddle laid thee low.
for her matchless force, deservedly
cavalier the sword and lance;
And even from
the east is come to try
strength against the paladins of France."
was his cheek of crimson dye,
Zerbino felt as his mischance,
wanting (so his blushes spread)
But all the
arms he wore had glowed as red.
and blames himself in angry wise,
In that he
had no better kept his seat.
herself the beldam laughs, and tries
Scottish warrior more to sting and heat.
To him for
promised convoy she applies;
And he, who
knows that there is no retreat,
tired courser, who in pensive fit,
his ears, controlled by spur and bit.
sighing deeply, cries, in his despair,
Fortune, with what change dost thou repay
loss! she who was fairest of the fair,
be mine, by thee is snatched away!
thinkest thou the evil to repair
whom thou hast given to me this day?
make like ill exchange, less cross
It were to
undergo a total loss.
for virtue and for beauteous form
equalled, nor will ever be,
Thou on the
rocks hast wrecked, in wintry storm,
As food for
fowls and fishes of the sea;
And her who
should have fed the earth-bred worm
beyond her date, some ten or score
to harass and torment me more."
Zerbino, and like grief displaid,
despairing words and woful mien,
For such an
odious acquisition made,
As he had
suffered when he lost his queen.
woman now, from what he said,
before Zerbino had not seen,
'twas him of whom, in the thieves' hold,
Gallicia erst had told.
remember what was said before,
the hag who 'scaped out of the cave,
who had wounded sore
heart, was long detained a slave;
Who oft had
told how she her native shore
and, launching upon ocean's wave
frigate, had been wrecked by wind and swell
rocky shallows near Rochelle.
And she to
her Zerbino's goodly cheer
features had pourtrayed so well,
hag hearing him, and now more near,
eyes upon his visage dwell,
it was the youth for whom, whilere,
at heart the prisoned Isabel;
she in the cavern more deplored,
captive to the murderous horde.
hearing what in rage and grief
vents, perceives the youth to be
and cheated by the false belief
had perished in the sea;
she might have given the prince relief,
truth, in her perversity
have made him joyful she concealed,
what would cause him grief revealed.
you that are so proud," (the hag pursues)
flout me with such insolence and scorn,
entreat me fair to have the news
I know of
her whose timeless death you mourn;
But to be
strangled would I rather choose,
And be into
a thousand pieces torn.
you had made me kinder cheer,
me the secret might you hear."
dog's rage is quickly overblown,
the approaching robber to arrest,
thief proffer piece of bread or bone,
Of offer other
lure which likes him best;
Zerbino to the crone
himself, and burned to know the rest;
Who, in the
hints of the old woman, read
had news of her he mourned as dead.
more winning mien to her applied,
And her did
supplicate, entreat, conjure,
By men and
gods, the truth no more to hide,
benign or evil lot endure.
and pertinacious crone replied,
shalt thou hear, thy comfort to assure.
not yielded up her breath,
But lives a
life she would exchange for death.
since thou heardest of her destiny,
days, has fallen into the power
than twenty. If restored to thee,
if thou hast hope to crop her flower."
"Curst hag, how well thou shapest thy history,
it is false! Her virgin dower
brutal wrong, would none invade,
the power of twenty were the maid."
of the maid, he when and where
She saw her,
vainly asked the beldam hoar,
restive to Zerbino's prayer,
To what she
had rehearsed would add no more.
in the beginning spoke her fair,
And next to
cut her throat in fury swore.
and menaces alike were weak;
Nor could he
make the hideous beldam speak.
Zerbino to his tongue gave rest,
speaking to the woman booted nought;
his heart found room within his breast,
suspicion had her story wrought.
He to find
Isabella was so pressed,
Her in the
midst of fire he would have sought;
not hurry more than was allowed
By her his
convoy, since he so had vowed.
by strange and solitary way,
the beldam does her will betoken,
climbing, nor descending hill, survey
other's face, nor any word is spoken.
the sun upon the middle day
his back, their silence first was broken
encountered in their way:
followed the ensuing strain will say.